If there was an award for the most incongruous mix of videogame genre discriptors, Bum Rush [Itch page] would almost certainly grab first prize. "Bum Rush is a 2-8 player car combat dating sim racing game," reads the opening line of its newly launched Itch page and I'm sure you now see what I mean.
Nina Freeman and Emmett Butler, of Cibele fame, brought this weird and wonderful collection of ideas to life with Diego Garcia and Max Coburn for No Quarter 2015 - an annual videogames exhibition hosted by the NYU Game Center. Yes, the strange mash of ideas sounds unlikely in theory but it really, really does work in practice.
And I've only played the game with two players. "It is highly recommended that you have eight players, but you can play with less," say the devs. "Four is the minimum recommended number of players for the intended experience." The three maps I played - there's nine in total - were only accessible to games housing four players or less and, although optimised for fewer folk, the experience is said to "change quite a bit" between smaller and larger groups.
In any event, Bum Rush is designed to take the anxiety tied to dating - most specifically pre-date nerves - and transform the dread and butterflies and self-doubt into a fun party game. Naturally, as noted above, the key to doing this is by sculpting the concept around a car combat racing game.
And so you'll face off against other date goers by driving around town, collecting dates, visiting five "date spots", waiting for energy bars to fill, and then racing back home to your temporarily empty shared apartment for much needed "sexy business". Sounds straightforward enough - until the competition slams into your car, causing one of your dates to tumble from your vehicle. Wind up with no dates, and you'll be unable to visit date spots - and thus miss out on the much-desired sexy business - so you'll want to do the same to your foes in return. As you might imagine things get pretty chaotic pretty quickly.
Again, I found this to be the case with just two players, but I now very much want to jump in with the maximum eight. Bum Rush is out now for Windows and Mac over on Itch, where you can pick it up by naming your own price.